In this starting pitching focused piece, Daniel Kramer of MLB.com gets up close and personal with members of the Rockies’ youthful rotation and other key figures from the ball club who have helped them take important philosophical and mental steps forward over the past two years. He covers topics such as pitch-selection philosophy, homegrown talent developmental success, accountability amongst the starters, and the mental toughness required to adapt to major league competition.
And as a team known for its offensive altitude — whoops, slip of the tongue, I mean “aptitude” — these Rockies are looking to prove that their pitching success in 2017 is sustainable and no aberration. They are ready to flip the script and make batters worry about hitting and facing them in Denver, Colorado.
I found this piece particularly interesting because of it’s shortage of statistical analysis — it’s a human-centric article that really lets us hear from the players themselves as they open up on their mentality for pitching successfully at Coors Field. For example, you can really hear the confidence exude from Jon Gray, the leadership in Chad Bettis, and the trust and belief that Bud Black and Steve Foster have in their young pitchers. By the end, I was convinced the Rockies will play Postseason baseball in 2018.
Speaking of flipping the script and balancing the narrative, this quick post from ESPN highlights each MLB team’s biggest hole to address still this offseason and how they might do it. It’s not interesting so much for its content — nothing new to see here, the Rockies need to add an impact bat to improve their lackluster offense from 2017 — but more for a particular reaction from a local media member who had this to say:
Interesting! This ESPN writer says the Rockies need offense (event tho they led the NL in runs) and have had a “very disappointing offseason.” Say what? The biggest remaining hole and a solution for (almost) all 30 teams - via @ESPN App https://t.co/lpAvwLI6hL— Jerry Schemmel (@jschemmel6) February 3, 2018
Ah yes, the ol’ “you know they’ll hit” argument. Sure, we expect to see this type of reaction from the less educated and national media types, but from a member of our own media who covers the Rockies daily? This is exactly the type of statement that drives unfortunate narratives like this one, a mentality that the Rockies don’t need to improve their offense (they do), and furthermore encourages the COORS goons.
Make no mistake, pitching was this team’s biggest strength last year, and likely will be again in 2018. If the Rockies want to support their young starters, continue to develop their confidence, and win games, adding an impact 1B or OF is still the biggest need.
With a perspective that is not seen as often this offseason, Olivia Greene over at Rox Pile suggests the Rockies may want to consider adding a veteran starter to their rotation still. Specifically, she argues a fellow by the name of Lance Lynn and his swing-and-miss stuff might be exactly what our pitching staff needs.
Less impactful stats such as Wins, ERA, and WHIP are brought up, and Lance definitely had a solid campaign in 2017 by the numbers, but what I appreciate is the leading argument for signing Lynn is actually his veteran presence and Postseason experience. I can certainly get on board with the fact that Lynn would improve the Rockies’ starting rotation in 2018, but at what cost? It could be in the $50 - $60 million over four or five years range, and if you couldn’t tell by now, I still believe that kind of money would be better spent on extending Arenado and Blackmon, or signing a position player who is versatile and fly-ball oriented — oh, I dunno, someone like...
Todd Frazier! If you missed it on Friday, our own Hayden Kane took a closer look at why the nickname-less Todd Frazier might be a great fit for the Rockies this season. There are a number of reasons, such as his versatility in the infield (freeing up Ian Desmond to improve our OF depth), his strong veteran presence (something the Rockies now have much less of with the absence of Carlos González and Mark Reynolds), and, maybe most importantly, his ability to hit the ball a long way (good for a 105 OPS+ last year).
Plus, as Hayden points out, he might be a bargain this offseason that is seeing dozens and dozens of free agents without jobs as Spring Training approaches quickly. Of course, any free agent is looking to be a bargain this year, but Frazier still stands out as a real possibility to improve the Rockies lineup in 2018.
Originally reported by Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Greg Holland had an offer on the table from the Rockies for three years and $52 million — the exact same contract Wade Davis ended up signing to play for Colorado. To say it’s surprising Greg didn’t take the offer is obvious, as Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post proclaimed on Twitter, “What was Holland thinking?” In this post, Rox Pile offers four potential answers to that question, hoping to offer insight on why Holland might’ve rejected the offer.
To me, the answer exists in the timeline of this peculiar offseason and its stove that has been room temperature at best. The way I see it, Holland thought other teams would pay him more and didn’t take the “safe bet” of signing with the Rockies. When Wade Davis signed on December 29th, 2017, there hadn’t been any whispers of “collusion” or players striking, and Holland had to believe a better deal was out there. Since then, we’ve waited as top-tier free-agents remain jobless and MLB owners continue to play a game of chicken with them.
Yes, Holland bet on himself finding a bigger pay-day elsewhere, and it looks like he rolled snake eyes.